Call for Public Comment on Recreational Fishing Survey Transition Policy

June 05, 2019

Comments are sought on a re-issued policy directive that formally documents the Marine Recreational Information Program’s survey certification process as a key step in transitioning to a new or improved data collection design.

Fishing Rods_Florida FWC.jpg

Fishing rods at sunset on an Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area beach. (Photo: Florida FWC)

NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Science and Technology is re-issuing a policy directive on the process of transitioning to a new or improved recreational fishing data collection design, now open for a 45-day public comment period.

As first issued, Policy Directive 04-114 recognized that making changes to NOAA Fisheries’ recreational fishing surveys can lead to changes in the agency’s recreational catch and effort estimates. When a new or improved fishing survey is implemented, it can be expected to produce estimates that are inconsistent with those derived from legacy survey designs. The policy directive states a Transition Plan must be developed to account for these inconsistencies and the time and effort it takes to integrate new estimates into existing time series and incorporate calibrated statistics into fisheries science and management.

The re-issued Policy Directive 04-114 (PDF, 4 pages):

  • Formally documents the Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP’s) existing survey certification process as a key step in transitioning to a new or improved data collection design. This process ensures new or improved survey designs are capable of producing statistics that meet the requirements of the Information Quality Act and can be accepted as Best Scientific Information Available under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Establishes that only those survey designs that have been certified or are on the path to certification are eligible to receive technical or financial support for implementation from MRIP.

Certified survey and estimation methods meet a shared set of standards, undergo independent peer review, and receive approval from the MRIP Executive Steering Committee. Over the past eight years, NOAA Fisheries has certified six survey designs.

Procedural Directive 04-114-01 (PDF, 6 pages) and Procedural Directive 04-114-02 (PDF, 10 pages) are being re-issued and issued with this revised policy, respectively. The former document describes the role and responsibilities of the MRIP Transition Team, as well as the program’s approach toward transitioning to new survey designs. The latter describes the process of reviewing and certifying survey designs and documenting and archiving survey design details.

Submit a Comment

Public comment on Policy Directive 04-114 should be sent via email to no later than midnight on Monday, July 22, 2019.